Sunday, July 29, 2012

Portland Children's Museum, Take 2

These matching shirts from Water Valley's World's Largest Crappie festival were even cuter the night before, when they picked them as their pjs and crawled into bed.  (That sounds more voluntary/proactive on their part than it was...)

After a relaxed Saturday morning we headed into Portland again to give the children's museum another shot, and do some shopping for Portland specialties to take back to MS with us.  After Alexe's poor experience at the art class with Caspian, she wrote the museum director.  The result was three day passes waiting for us at the front desk when we arrived.

Brace for lots of pictures.  On three floors, with an outdoor area, there was lots to see, and the kids moved from one display to the next in a near frantic sensory overload.

Fire truck:

Garage, complete with a tool area, gas up station, and a register to pay the mechanic.  Caspian met a young lady...

I didn't fully understand this display, it was a sort of conveyor-belt hay delivery system for the milk cow.  It required collaboration to get the hay down the two different belts to hit the slide to get to the cow's bucket.  

Again, I didn't quite understand the real world inspiration for these set ups, but they resulted in sharing and working together.

Back to the fire truck, for costumes and the fireman's pole.

The museum has a fenced in courtyard area, with a pirate ship / fishing boat, and a nice series of active gardening projects, from a greenhouse to raised beds to cold framed.

Caspian in the hold of the ship:

Annaliese with her lobster catch:

I like this planter:

The kids made me a milkshake and hot tea at the cafĂ©.  Annaliese channeling Miss Dixie:

A physics display, with gravity/acceleration/vacuum tubes kept their attention for a while. The best pictures in that room are of the kids' faces as they watch their balls flying up over their heads through the vacuum tubes.

We were in the whale display when an announcement came over the PA system saying the live animal touching station was opening up on the 3rd floor.  Caspian heard, and came running:


Annaliese had to get her shoes back on.  Alexe and I were joking the other day about how often we mention shoes in a get/find/put on/put back on context.  Dozens of times a day.


Tree house.

Turtles! (I love turtle.)

After a stop at Micucci's for a case of wine, pounds of prosciutto and salami, and good bread, an ice cream stop, (the feirie's had given gift certificates this morning,) and a stop at both Cape Elizabeth farm stands for corn/milk/butter/lobster, we made it home and the kids took a nap.

To wrap up the day's project of revising the first museum experience, we spent the late afternoon painting rocks in the front courtyard.

I had lots of fun, I think they did too.  Eventually the kids turned their paint trays into brown smoothies.  Annaliese was done at that point, and came to help me with my painting.  Caspian wasn't going to be discouraged, and had a whole pile of rocks he had collected at the beach that needed to be painted.  It felt a little less creative, and more like a brown-rock-making assembly line at that point, but he used up all his paint, and colored all his rocks, and seemed pleased with it.

Then:  We grabbed the rickshaw and headed out to Trundy's Point to work up an appetite.  (I had two lobsters waiting for me, and I wanted to be hungry.)

Both kids were in high spirits:

Isn't this a great sibling dynamic:

I don't know if she's licking or kissing or biting, but it ended in laughter, so whatever.

I took a quick dip, we walked out to the very end of the point and looked for crabs as the big waves came crashing in (high tide), and then we ran all the way home. The kids ran alongside for 20% of the way, rode in the rickshaw for the rest, and I felt great about myself when I made it wheezing back to the farm.

Annaliese checking her messages before we headed back: 

A delicious meal of fresh corn on the cob and good bread, both with Kate's Homemade Butter from Maine, took a very hot family bath, put my two pink and happy babies to bed, and came downstairs for an undisturbed meal of two lobsters, cooked just right, tender as could be, sweet, and drowning in more of that amazing butter.

Farewell to a.Natalie and u.William

u.William and a.Natalie had to boogie by noon on Friday.  They ended up getting away some time after 3.

There was a lovely morning lounging in the Mead Hall, where the kids took turns telling stories and snuggling with their aunt and uncle.

A particularly intense part of Annaliese's story.

The pooches and kids have bonded a little bit.

We took a walk to the beach at low tide, and found a few crabs.  

Then we found a few more little crabs.

Then it turned into a crab-finding frenzy, where a closed tide pool was designated as the holding pen, Natalie and I flipped over rocks and found crabs, the kids ran from us to the tide pool holding pen to deposit them, and William played aquarium-keeper.

My beautiful, and complexly personality-ed, little sister.

The kids went for their nap after 3, and Natalie and William rolled out.  At 5:30 I woke the kids up, thinking they would never go to sleep that night, and we headed out for an evening of yard-play.  While I mowed the courtyards with a push mower, and the rest of the property with the rider, (Honda Harmony riding mowers are very nice, not sure why Honda left the riding mower market,) the kids resumed picking up sticks that have been blown down all around the property.

These kids love to be productive.  I think on both the nature and nurture side, Alexe and I can feel good about contributing to that.

Caspian dove right in, running all over the yard and back to the garden cart.

Not sure why this picture came out with this gray-washed-out coloring, it was snapped with the same iphone as everything else this summer.

Annaliese, on the other hand, uses her brain and smarts (as she tells me) and brings the cart to where the sticks are.

Either way, they did a great job.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Uncle William!

The kids have been receiving a steady supply of feirie presents each morning.  Last week they received whoopie cushions.  This morning they received fart-goop, or "goop that toots".  The feiries have an interesting sense of humor.

u.William and a.Natalie helped expand the creative options of play for the tootie-goop.

After a leisurely break, which I got to snooze through, complete with organic milk from u.Williams farm, driven in the night before, we all headed out to the barn to take care of the horses.

William is trying to corale Chipper back to the barn, I'm not sure what Natalie is doing.

This is a picture of Caspian's handsome little face.

The swing, and the uncle and aunt, made for very happy kids while I cleaned the stalls.

Together again!

Natalie and I headed upstairs to give her another chance to beat me at ping pong, u.William kept swinging with the kids downstairs.

Melts your heart a little, no?

a.Natalie dreaming of a barn of her own.  Annaliese, giving the horses a little more hay.

Annaliese is waiting for her turn to swing on u.Willaim's lap.  Caspian is not ready to give him up.

And does not take the end of his turn well. Even pouting he's adorable.

Natalie playing ping pong.  At least how she spent the majority of her ping pong playing time.

After lunch, the kids curled up with u.William for cuddle time and books.  This was something they specifically requested, by that label.

Moments later.  Notice, the kids do not need a pink blanket, or a pacifier; one u.William does just fine.

Meanwhile Natalie tried Othello again in her quest to win SOMETHING!

This is her preventing me from taking a picture of another epic trouncing.

After cuddling and reading to them until they all gently slid into sleep, this is how the kids, (slightly urged on by a.Natalie,) re-payed the kindness.  It was not a nice wake up call.

We grabbed the pooches, the kids, and headed out for a walk to the beach.

We took the long route to Trundy's Point.  The rickshaw went everywhere without a problem, and seemed to amuse everyone we passed.

Annaliese warming up with u.William.

The pooches had a great time.

Just look at that face.  Caspian's happy too.

We headed back, and a.Natalie, who had pulled the rickshaw the whole way there, proceeded to pull every permutation of u.William/Annaliese/Caspian, all the way back, most of it up hill.

This was a particularly steep bit, note the garde relative to the house.

It was impressive.

The crew lounging in the yard while I whipped together a little something for dinner.

After a nice meal and a nice bath, the kids suited up in their pjs, ready for story time with the aunt and uncle.  On the way they found some of u.Randall's chapeaus: